Thursday, May 29, 2008

FBI: Finding Bassem Inconvenient

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee held a subcommittee hearing featuring FBI whistleblower Bassem Youssef, a Supervisory Special Agent and Unit Chief in the FBI Counterterrorism Division, who reported that only 62% of the positions in that division are filled. See this post for more detail.

Yesterday, members of the Senate and House Judiciary committees followed up on Youssef's testimony by sending a letter to the General Accountability Office (GAO) asking for an investigation into the FBI's "unacceptable vacancy rates." The letter was signed by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat; Judiciary Committee member Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican; House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat; Judiciary Committee member Rep. Robert C. Scott, Virginia Democrat; and Judiciary Committee member Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican.

That development was reported today by Congressional Quarterly (Lawmakers Seek GAO Probe of FBI Staffing Levels) and the Washington Times (Hill tells FBI to explain staff gap), among other news media, but not the Washington Post.

According to a May 21 post in the Whistleblower Protection Blog about news media coverage of Bassem Youssef's testimony of last week, ABC News, Fox News, Reuters, CNN, Washington Times, LA Times, USA Today, Think Progress, American Library Association, CNN Wire,, AFP, and all ran stories about it. But not the Washington Post.

Isn't the WAPO interested in the fact that the FBI has allowed 2 out of 5 positions in its Counterterrorism Division to go vacant? Surely it is. So why the strange reticence to report a story that embarrasses the Bureau? Does J. Edgar Hoover's ghost haunt the WAPO building? The U.S. Congress has finally stopped handling the FBI with kid gloves, so why has the WAPO now started?

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